London (AFP) Jan 12, 2011
British airports operator BAA said on Wednesday that the recent harsh wintry weather, which sparked travel chaos, had cost it about 24 million pounds (29 million euros, $38 million).
The Spanish-owned firm, which operates six airports in Britain, was widely criticised over its handling of the freezing weather conditions that gripped much of Britain over the crucial Christmas holiday period.
"All of BAA's airports were affected by severe weather to some extent in December and the resulting disruption is estimated to have affected profits across BAA ... by approximately 24 million pounds," it said in a statement.
BAA operates London's Heathrow and Stansted airports, as well as Southampton in southern England and Aberdeen in Scotland.
Heathrow was particularly hard hit by the winter travel chaos.
Heavy snow and thick ice all but closed the busiest international passenger air hub in the world late last month, stranding hundreds and exacting a humble apology from BAA chief executive Colin Matthews.
"The approximate financial cost by airport, measured in terms of the reduction in profit, was 19 million pounds at Heathrow, 1.0 million pounds at Stansted and 4.0 million pounds across the group's four other UK airports of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Southampton," BAA said.
"The reduction in profits partly reflects lower revenues, principally in terms of lost aeronautical income driven by reduced passenger traffic."
The company, which was bought by Spanish construction group Ferrovial in 2006, also said overall passenger numbers plunged by 11 percent compared with December 2009 as a result of the snow.
BAA has meanwhile set up an independent inquiry into the poor performance of its Heathrow operations last month. The findings are due in March.
In a separate statement on Wednesday, the National Air Traffic Services said the total number of flights in British airspace fell by 6.6 percent in December.
NATS said the number of flights over 2010 sank by 4.3 percent, blaming the severe travel chaos sparked by the snowy weather and the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in April.
"The effect of the severe winter weather and the ash cloud contributed to a 4.3 percent decrease in the number of aircraft in UK controlled airspace last year," NATS said.
"The reduction can be attributed in part to the impact of the freezing spells in November and December -- both in the UK and abroad -- and the volcanic ash cloud in April and May."
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It's A White Out at TerraDaily.com
Seoul warns of blackouts, calls for long johns
Seoul (AFP) Jan 12, 2011
The government urged South Koreans Wednesday to dig out their thermal underwear and turn down the heating, warning that some areas may otherwise face electricity blackouts amid unusually cold weather. Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-Hwan said electricity demand has hit a new record three times this winter so far. "Amid the sudden surge of electricity demand... we may experience bl ... read more
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